Current situation of mushroom poisonings in Japan

According to "National Record of Food Poisoning Incidents" [1], the number of mushroom poisoning incidents taking place in Japan in 1974-1997 was 1,068; it was 431 in 1988-1997 (10 years) with 1,842 poisoned people, including 20 fatal victims". Among the 431 incidents, the numbers of incidents according to causative mushrooms are: Rhodophyllus rhodopolius plus Rhodophyllus sinuatus, 133; Lampteromycesjaponicus, 127; Tricholoma ustale, 42; Amanita virosa plus Amanita verna, 16; Amanita pantherina, 15; Clitocybe acromelalga, 15; Psilocybe argentipes (a species of magic mushrooms), 12; other mushrooms, 36; not specified, 35 (> Figure 2.1)b.

Toxic mushrooms can be classified into 6 groups according to their actions as follows.

• Those which destroy cells, injure the liver and kidney and thus may cause death (latent period, 6-10 h; Amanita virosa, Amanita verna and Amanita phalloides).

• Those which act on the autonomic nervous system and provoke symptoms, such as sweating, lacrimation, vomiting and diarrhea (latent period, 20 min-2 h; Clitocybegibba, Inocybe species and others).

• Those which inhibit the metabolism of acetaldehyde in blood (disulfiram-like effect), causing a flushing phenomenon and palpitation upon drinking alcohol concomitantly (latent period, 20 min-2 h; Clitocybe clavipes, Coprinus atramentarius and others).

• Those which act on the central nervous system and provoke abnormal excitement and hallucinations (latent period, 20 min-2 h; Amanita pantherina, Psilocybe argentipes and others).

• Those which irritate the gastrointestinal tract and provoke symptoms, such as abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea (latent period, 30 min-3 h; Rhodophyllus rhodopolius, Lamptero-myces japonicus and others).

• Others which cause swelling or necrosis of tips of extremities or sharp pain due to disturbances of the peripheral nerves (Clitocybe acromelalga and others).

O Figure 2.1

Psilocybe argentipes 3%

Ciitocybe acromelalga 3%

Amanita pantherina 3%

Amanita virosa + Amanita vema

Other mushrooms (specified}

8% Not specified

8% Not specified

Ciitocybe acromelalga 3%

Amanita pantherina 3%

Amanita virosa + Amanita vema

Tricholoma ustale 10%

Lamptermomyces japónicas 30%

Rhodophyilus rhodopolius + Rhodophyilus sinuatus 31%

Tricholoma ustale 10%

Lamptermomyces japónicas 30%

H Other mushrooms (specilied)

■ Mot specilied

□ Rhodophyilus rhodopolius +■ Fhodophyllus sinuatus O Lamptermomyces japonlcus

■ Tricholoma ustale

B Amanita virosa + Amanita vema

■ Amanita pantherina

□ Ciitocybe acromelalga

■ Psilocybe argentipes

Incidence ratio of mushroom poisonings according to species in Japan. It is calculated from the data of "National Record of Food Poisoning Incidents". The number of the mushroom poisoning incidents was 431; the poisoned subjects involved were 1,842 people.

> Table 2.1 shows the outline of the mushroom poisoning analyses, which the authors had undertaken in recent 9 years. As shown in this table, the number of the poisoning cases, in which Amanita virosa had been (suspected to be) causative, was as many as 10. Amanita virosa is highly toxic and sometimes causes fatalities. The highest incidence of the Amanita virosa in our laboratories is interpreted to mean that such fatal poisoning cases are selectively brought to our Department for analysis. Two cases were suspected of poisoning by Rhodophyllus rhodopolius (> Table 2.1).

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